Maria’s Sunday Paper: What I’m Thinking About This Mother’s Day
The other night I was out to dinner with two of my kids and their significant others.
When we got up to leave, we stopped to say hi to a neighboring table. After a little chit-chat, the woman sitting there said, “Is this an early Mother’s Day dinner?” I laughed and said, “Oh no, I have dinner with my kids all the time.” She seemed taken aback.
“You do?” she asked.
“Yes, we all eat together, all the time,” my kids responded.
I’m lucky. I know it. I’m lucky that my kids include me in their lives. I’m lucky that we enjoy each other’s company. I’m glad that we enjoy each other not just on Mother’s Day, but every day.
Motherhood, after all, is one of those jobs that you do every day. It never stops and you’re never done. You work 24/7, 365 days a year — for your entire life.
Once you commit to motherhood, you are always in mother-mode. You are always on the line and always on-call. And, that’s fine with me, as I find motherhood endlessly fascinating, endlessly challenging, endlessly fun and endlessly fulfilling.
Mother’s Day might just be the only day of the year when you can take a breath and rest. And so on this day, I rest in knowing that I have given this job my all. I rest in knowing that I not only love my kids to the moon and back, but that I like them, too. And, best of all, I know that they know that!
I also know that my role as a mother is always evolving. Parenting 20-something-year-olds is not the same as parenting toddlers or teenagers. I’ve discovered that it’s more fluid. One day, I am needed. The next, not at all. One day my advice is the most important advice in the world. The next day, I’m told that I don’t know what I’m talking about and that I don’t understand anything. I’ve had to learn (and I’m still learning) not to take this personally. I’m learning that from the people who are the most personal to me.
And so, on this Mother’s Day, I’ll go to church and give thanks for the blessings of my children. My kids (the three who are in town) will most likely get up and go with me.
After that, we’ll go to brunch. (I won’t have to pay – yippee!) Then, if I have my way, we’ll ride bikes or take a walk in the neighborhood. We’ll wrap the day with a barbecue in our backyard, inviting friends and other mothers who have helped me mother.
I won’t have to do a thing. I’ll just sit there and marvel at the individuals my kids have become. I’ll also reflect on my own mother and the lessons she taught me. I’ll think of her as I do every day. I’ll even close my eyes so that I can picture her laughing, holding court, racing her boat, pounding her fist, giving a speech, and making sandcastles with her grandchildren. I’ll think of how she called me every day just to check in. She’d always tell me that I was doing just enough, but then end up telling me what more I should be doing or could be doing, LOL.
My mother was a force of nature who mothered a movement. She mothered five kids, countless grandkids, and never ran out of breath. I’ll miss her on Mother’s Day, but then again, I miss her every day.
That’s motherhood for you. It never stops, even when the mother is gone. Her advice, her lessons, her pushing and prodding, and her love live on. Like I said, it’s the job of a lifetime. Motherhood is a job done everywhere — even from heaven.
“I’ve Been Thinking… Reflections, Prayers and Meditations for a Meaningful Life” is still on The NY Times Bestsellers list! Thank you to everyone who has been reading and sharing, like my friends down at Fleur de Lys, a store in Costa Mesa, CA, that hosted me for a book signing last week and that took the photo below. I also want to extend a big hug and thank you to my friend Elizabeth, who hosted a book event for me at her store — Room at the Beach in Malibu, CA — yesterday.
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WHAT OTHERS HAVE BEEN THINKING
I’ve been thinking about the individuals featured below and how their views on the world rise above the noise…
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE EXPLAINS WHY MOTHERHOOD AND FAITH GO HAND-IN-HAND
I was thrilled that my dear friend and TODAY show colleague Savannah Guthrie offered to share this beautiful piece exclusively with The Sunday Paper for Mother’s Day. Adapted from a recent speech she gave at a Catholic luncheon, it’s a beautiful read and reflection on the role faith plays in motherhood.
TINA KNOWLES LAWSON TALKS ABOUT RAISING KIND AND TALENTED DAUGHTERS
I couldn’t have been more thrilled to be joined by the lovely Tina Knowles Lawson, mother to Beyoncé and Solange and a true Architect of Change in her own right. In honor of Mother’s Day, she talked to me about how she raised her incredibly talented and successful daughters and how she’s maintained her own identity and voice along the way.
PATTI DAVIS TELLS US WHAT MOTHER’S DAY MEANS TO HER
I am so delighted that Architect of Change Patti Davis offered to share her unique perspective on Mother’s Day and on reconciling the relationship she had with her mother, Nancy Reagan, in this moving essay she wrote for the Sunday Paper.
DEVOTED SON EXPLAINS WHY HE’S PROUD TO CARE FOR HIS MOM WHO SUFFERS FROM DEMENTIA
My dear friend Craig Duncan is caregiver to his beloved mother, who was diagnosed with dementia three years ago. Craig graciously agreed to write a piece for The Sunday Paper, offering insight into his personal experiences.
MEDITATION INSTRUCTOR PAM BUTLER OFFERS A MINDFUL APPROACH TO OVERCOMING POSTPARTUM PTSD
Architect of Change Pam Butler, author of “Return to Life: Finding Your Way Back to Balance and Bliss in a Stressed-Out World,” talks about the postpartum PTSD she experienced after the complicated birth of her daughter and how she ultimately overcame the stress and trauma.
AUTHOR KARI WAGNER-PECK GIVES TOUCHING INSIGHT INTO ADOPTING A CHILD WITH DOWN SYNDROME
Blogger Kari Wagner-Peck, MSW, and her husband, Ward, decided to adopt a foster child late in life. In her first book Not Always Happy, Kari chronicles the emotions the couple experienced while going through the adoption process and raising their son, Thorin, who has Down syndrome.
MOTHER-DAUGHTER ACTIVIST DUO ERIN AND HUDSYN DISCOVER THAT EDUCATION CAN COME THROUGH A LIFE OF PASSION AND PURPOSE
This week, we honor Erin Toppenberg and her daughter Hudsyn as our Architects of Change of the Week. After discovering that Hudsyn’s “spirit was melting” in traditional school, Erin decided to “lifeschool” her (learning through living). Hudsyn’s education now comes in part through the work she does with her mom on the organization she established, The Waterbearers. Together, they take humanitarian journies and raise funds and awareness for people who do not have access to clean drinking water.
NEWS ABOVE THE NOISE
Because the media was dominated this week by several unfolding political stories, you may have missed the other news that rose “above the noise.” Below we share a few stories that caught our eye and got us thinking…
1. The McCains Take a Moment to Enjoy a Beautiful Sunset: One of our Sunday Paper Facebook Group ambassadors brought this story to my attention, and I love the sentiment. The story celebrates the fact that Cindy McCain and her husband, Sen. John McCain recently stopped to share the moment of a beautiful sunset together at their home in Arizona. It’s a reminder to us all that every moment matters.
2. Do Doctors Tend to Dismiss Women’s Health Concerns?: Unfortunately, I have found this to be the case all too often for women. In this informative NY Times article, the author examines this issue with experts and offers readers advice on how to get the care you need.
3. Depression Diagnoses Have Risen in the Last Five Years:
According to a new report from Blue Cross Blue Shield., diagnoses of clinical depression have risen by 33 percent since 2013. “Some of the literature is already starting to predict that by 2030, depression will be the number-one cause for loss of longevity or life,” said a medical expert.
4. Social Media Is Hurting Your Memory: We all need to put down our phones and pay attention to this piece. According to new data published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, researchers found that those who documented and shared their experiences on social media formed less precise memories of those events.
5. This Silicon Valley Company Is Creating Religious Ritual Kits: This is an interesting read about society’s need for rituals in our daily lives. Ritual Design Lab employs experts, like neuropsychologists, to craft religious rituals for both individuals and organizations.
6. 4-Year-Old Boy Uses His Super Powers to Feed the Homeless: This is a wonderful, feel-good video about a young boy that definitely exhibits passion and purpose in his life. Once a week, Austin Perine turns into his alter ego: a superhero that sets out to feed as many homeless people as possible.
My dear friend, Patti Peterson, shared with me this beautiful poem that she wrote about her own mother shortly after her passing. I thought it was appropriate to share in this special Mother’s Day edition of the Sunday Paper, as it reminds us to cherish our moms —whether they are alive or in our memories.
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